57 miles (92 km) – Total so far: 2,897 miles (4,662 km)

Sadly, this morning I left the Tetons. But, they gave me a treat on the way out. In the early morning mist I encountered a massive Hart. Its antlers were stupendously large, which he shook about as he pawed at the ground. Paul mused that taking an excellent shot of one of these beasts with a telephoto zoom lens in just the right light is every bit as challenging as shooting it with a rifle. But, of course, that leaves the stately creature for another to enjoy. I love this idea of stalking with a camera. I may try something like this in the future.

A Stag Elk in the foreground and Rockchuck mountain in the background -- Grand Teton National Park, WY

A Stag Elk in the foreground and Rockchuck mountain in the background — Grand Teton National Park, WY

Closeup of the Stag-- Grand Teton National Park, WY

Closeup of the Stag– Grand Teton National Park, WY

Another Closeup of the Stag. -- Grand Teton National Park, WY

Another Closeup of the Stag. — Grand Teton National Park, WY

The day itself was cold and rainy. I’ve got the right equipment for it, though so it wasn’t too bad. But better than equipment is a nice long breakfast. We noticed something at breakfast that was repeated later in the day at lunch: the restaurant hosts are very slow to seat us. As in, ‘who are these vagrants walking into our establishment and scaring away the guests?’ Apparently our slipping standards for cleanliness combined with the steady rain has dropped us below some threshold where we are earning disapproving looks. We probably didn’t help our case by swiping a chair and plugging in five gadgets for charging.

Chargetastrophy

Chargetastrophy

The ride out of Teton was pleasant, if wet. At a picnic area just before leaving Grand Teton Park I witnessed the beauty of creation on both a grand scale and a minuscule scale. The Teton range across Jackson Lake is epic and stunning as the rain clouds wash over the mountains. Just behind where I snapped a photo a tiny praying mantis popped its head around a purple wildflower amidst a field of pink wildflowers.

Rain clouds roll in over Jackson Lake. -- Grand Teton National Park, WY

Rain clouds roll in over Jackson Lake. — Grand Teton National Park, WY

A preying mantis on a wildflower. -- Grand Teton National Park, WY

A preying mantis on a wildflower. — Grand Teton National Park, WY

Sad as we were to leave the Tetons, we finally arrived in Yellowstone Park. We encountered our first notable scenery just past the entrance. Just two ticks down a side trail we witnessed our first Yellowstone waterfall. Obligatory blurred waterfall shots abound.

Entering Yellowstone National Park

Entering Yellowstone National Park

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Mike

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Mike

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Paul

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Paul

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Terry

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot with Terry

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot.

Obligatory blurred waterfall shot.

Late-ish evening turned into late evening, and then full on night time as we worked our way through the Kafke-esque machinations of Xanterra, the company that has privatized park services. 15 forms, 9 monetary transactions, and 3 hours later, we have staked a campground, enjoyed showers, and cleaned laundry.

Kafkaesque paperwork to enter Grant Village Campground --Yellowstone National Park

Kafkaesque paperwork to enter Grant Village Campground –Yellowstone National Park

The campsite itself is a truly beautiful dense alpine forest right out of a 1950s postcard. I enjoyed a cold crisp night in Yellowstone. It snowed for a little while last night (yes, in summer). The sun may make an appearance today, which would be a welcome treat. The forecast calls for day after day of sunny skies about 24 hours from now. Of course, this mythical land of Ra has been just out of reach for about a week, so we’ll see.